Decadal Scale Variability of Larsen Ice Shelf Melt Captured by Antarctic Peninsula Ice Core

In this study, we used the stable water isotope record (δ18O) from an ice core drilled in Palmer Land, southern Antarctic Peninsula (AP). Utilizing δ18O we identified two climate regimes during the satellite era. During the 1979–1998 positive interdecadal Pacific oscillation (IPO) phase, a low-pressure system north of the Weddell Sea drove southeasterly winds that are associated with an increase in warm air mass intrusion onto the Larsen shelves, which melted and a decreased sea ice concentration in the Weddell Sea/increase in the Bellingshausen Sea. This climate setting is associated with anomaly low δ18O values (compared with the latter IPO period). There is significantly more melt along the northern AP ice shelf margins and on the Larsen D and southern Larsen C during the 1979–1998 IPO positive phase. The IPO positive climatic setting was coincidental with the Larsen A ice shelf collapse. In contrast, during the IPO negative phase (1999–2011), northerly winds caused a reduction in sea ice in the Bellingshausen Sea/Drake Passage region. Moreover, a Southern Ocean north of the Weddell Sea high-pressure system caused low-latitude warm humid air over the tip and east of the AP, a setting that is associated with increased northern AP snowfall, a high δ18O anomaly, and less prone to Larsen ice shelf melt.


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Authors: Emanuelsson, B. Daniel ORCIDORCID record for B. Daniel Emanuelsson, Thomas, Elizabeth R. ORCIDORCID record for Elizabeth R. Thomas, Humby, Jack D. ORCIDORCID record for Jack D. Humby, Vladimirova, Diana O. ORCIDORCID record for Diana O. Vladimirova

On this site: Diana Vladimirova, Jack Humby, Liz Thomas
16 September, 2022
Geosciences / 12
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